A Day In The A Blue Mountains.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I welcome you to take your time and browse , visiting my bush garden and discovering the wonders of my city within a national park; Blue Mountains National Park. Via my blog you will travel with me through the successes, trials and tribulations of gardening on a bush block. I share with you my patchwork & quilting, knitting, paper crafts, cooking and life in general.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

This Month In The Garden

Initially, I didn't think that there would be much to photograph in the garden this month.  How wrong was I.

The cacti are doing surprisingly well.

Above is the centre of a Swamp Lily, at least I think that this is what it is.  It's an Australian Native which we've had in the ground for around five years and is yet to flower.

Cherry Tomato in flower.  There's been a good crop this year but the fruit is too sour to eat.  Perhaps the fruit have not had enough sun.

Strawberries are fruiting now too...but I really thought that summer was their growing season?

Some of the wattles are in flower. Here are a couple of ants making their way to a feast of nectar.

Angophoras have been sprouting all over the garden.  I love the colours and the textures of the seedlings.  Unfortunately, most sprout in awkward positions and are not viable.  This one is growing in alongside a potted Kaffir Lime bush.  

I planted six or seven of these Conestick bushes in the garden about seven years ago.  This is the first time that flower heads have formed.  I'm looking forward to seeing the first flowers.
When it comes to Cymbidium Orchids, I think I can safely admit to having a green thumb!  Already, there are about eight spikes forming on my four potted cymbidiums.  Unfortunately, they are all the same variety and I have given away tens of these plants over the past twenty five years or so. Each year I promise myself that I will purchase a new variety but I've never got round to doing this.

It's still June, so I was very surprised to find that the mulberry tree is full of new buds.  Sorry, but the picture quality is not good.  I was so surprised by this find, I just had to post.

  Now that the Winter Solstice is over, the days can only get longer.

Happy gardening!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A John Denver Kind of Day.

"Some days are diamonds some days are stones
Sometimes the hard times won't leave me alone
Sometimes a cold wind blows a chill in my bones..."

Monday, 27 June 2011

House Warming Gifts.

My most favourite chocolate ever comes in a royal purple wrapper.
My Daughter and Grand Daughter moved house recently and last night we had our first meal together in their new home.
With the help of the Graphics Fairy I transformed a run of the mill container of drinking chocolate to a unique house warming gift in just minutes.
I used the Vintage Fab French advertising frame to which I added text and tint in my photo' editing program. In real life the label is much closer to royal purple than what it appears in the photograph.
Then I printed out the edited graphic on an A4 size label (I love full page labels...cuts out on lots of guess work and I use all the scraps up by re-running them through the printer!).
I made sure that the directions remained uncovered on the canister. 
This is now a personalised canister of drinking chocolate for my Grand Daughter. 
To protect the new label and the container I covered the label and directions with one piece of clear self-adhesive plastic.
I finished off the gift by placing it inside a cellophane bag and tying with matching tag and co-ordinated bow.
For our Daughter I wrapped some home made soap in cellophane to retain the essential oil fragrance, then using the same graphic as above made individual labels for the soap. 
Once more I used the A4 size label to print out all the labels on one sheet and trimmed them with fancy edged craft scissors before adhering to the individual soaps.  I used clear adhesive plastic once more, to protect the labels.
Next I needed a carry bag for the soap:

The label for the carry bag is printed, again, on the A4 size label and cut to size before adhering to the front of the carry bag.
For tags, I purchased ready made tags from the stationers to which I added matching graphics (also printed out on labels and cut to size and adhered to the tag).
Finally, here are the gifts, all ready to go.
I wish them both a happy life in their new home!
(P.S. vanilla ice-cream sprinkled with drinking chocolate is to die for!)

I am linking this post to the Graphics Fairy, Brag Monday #91.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Thank You.

Thank you to all you beautiful people out there in Blogging Land who have dropped by in the last couple of days leaving get well wishes.  Your comments do help to cheer me up!
Today is my tenth day of un-wellness and while most of my 'flu symptoms have gone, I've been left with a debilitating fatigue which is worrisome, given the fact that I have struggled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the past.  I'm hoping that this bout of 'flu has not been a trigger for another round of the dreaded CFS.
My experience with the illness has been one of total mis-understanding and bewilderment when presenting to the medical profession.  Mostly my medical practitioners have been at a loss to know what to do about CFS. 
In the end the persistence of an alternative health care provider paid off, only to be then diagnosed with SJÖGREN’S SYNDROME about seven years ago.
Once more I was told that not much could be done unless I was prepared to be medicated with cortisone which even the specialist did not recommend.
Alternative medicine offered some relief but after three more years of suffering from the weird and not so wonderful symptoms of the disease I decided to take early retirement.  My work was deadline centred, also, reaching my place of employment meant three hours of commuting each day.  While I loved the work I did my place of employment was stressful and lacking in support systems for its employees.  I still miss the stimulation I received from the work I carried out and the opportunities it offered to be self reliant. Even so, it was something like two years after retiring before I could truly say I was well on the mend and no longer required endless supplements for my health.  About two months before I retired my brother (my second youngest sibling) died from a heart attack.  He was forty three and died two weeks after my fifty fifth birthday.  My birthday was also the last day I saw him alive.  He was supposed to come on a family outing with us the very day he died but opted to go swimming with his immediate family and some friends instead.  He and his son were caught in a rip and in his attempt to rescue my nephew, my brother was swept out to sea.  Of course, immediate attention was centred around my nephew's rescue who was only nine at the time and by the time my brother was rescued he had suffered a heart attack and could not be revived.
I had submitted my resignation to my employer only weeks before and I was having doubts as to whether I'd done the right thing or not.  Losing my brother made it easier for me to accept my decision to take retirement at the time.
I missed going to work dreadfully for a full two years.  I still dream that one day I'll get a telephone call asking me to return.  But I know that while I relish the mental stimulation the work would bring, physically I probably would not cope.
Going on a five-month-long camping holiday around Australia last year has helped me ease into a different cycle in life.  My darling husband, Honey Pie, and I went on the first real holiday in both our life times. 
When the opportunity came up for voluntary redundancies at Honey Pie's work he put in a proposal for acceptance and was successful.
Honey Pie started his career as a tradesman when he was fourteen and a half years old with the N.S.W. State Government.  That was in 1966.
Since then he has never been on unemployment benefits and supported the two of us last year on what he now affectionately calls his 'gap year'.
Our trip around Australia was an experience of a life time.  I would do it again any time.  My only problem with it was that after two months I missed my family terribly.
These days, I have my many crafts to concentrate on, as well as my garden and of course my family which now includes a beautiful three year old Grand Daughter who is a delight to be with.
And especially as winter draws in on us and the Winter Solstice means shorter days, I think long and often about our time, last June, in Broome. I know I could not survive the humidity of a tropical summer but wouldn't it be lovely if we could somehow devise a system whereby six months of the year is spent in the Blue Mountains and the other six in Broome!!!
And you guessed it ... Broome was a favourite if not the most favourite place we visited on our journey!!
Sooo...if any of you need cheering up here are some sunny photographs for you. All were taken at Cable Beach Broome.
Life Is A Pea - 2011
Life Is A Pea - 2011

Life Is A Pea - 2011

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Dr. Seuss.

My Next Major Project (Times Two)!
Having had the 'flu for the past week, and still recovering, means not much sewing or anything else for that matter, happening.  I did manage to pop out Tuesday last week to purchase the above fabric.
Two cot quilts for two boy cousins due in August and October coming up.
I spent most of the afternoon today contemplating the fabrics trying to decide what to do with them as I don't have a pattern.
The two quilts will be very similar, very simple and the machine quilting, which I aim to complete, pretty straightforward.  I am counting on the fabric itself being the attraction to these quilts.

I have linked this post to Lee's Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

My Other Blue & White.

Influenza has seen me laying low this past week.  Never-the-less, this morning I thought I'd share my other blue and white dinner setting with you.  It is also a Johnson Brothers setting and my aim is to mix and match with my newer Mother's Day gift when we have extended family for lunch.  With both services I now have enough to serve thirty two adults!  It has, as yet, never come to this but more than once it's been at the high end of twenty.  Still, with the increasing chance of more grandchildren and sons/daughters - in - law, it could be on the books!!!
I like to be prepared...

One morning, many years ago, as a playgroup mum and host, I served my playgroup mums morning tea in teacups and saucers.  This was NOT the done thing, usually mugs sufficed.
I got lots of compliments that morning.  One mum in particular commented how she felt very pampered drinking her tea from a proper teacup - with a saucer to boot!

I particularly like this dinner service because each piece, like my newer setting, is differently decorated.
I am linking this post to Tea Cup Tuesday with Terri at Artful Affirmations

Friday, 17 June 2011

Colourful Friday

I loved working on this post.  Only problem is that I've got a bad 'flu (so has my dearest Hubby) and have not added as many things as I would have like to...so here goes...

Here is a journal I made using The Graphics Fairy art work and which I linked to Brag Monday  last week and which I entered into Sketch Saturday's #158 Challenge.  The colours of course were inspired by Robyn at Daisy Quilts.  Hope you like it.

You can read more about the china here and it's show cased with a persimmon (a fruit I love, the soft variety, that is), and a tangelo.

Thanks Robyn for the inspiration...

Nature just loves colours...here is a pair of rainbow lorikeets feeding on our verandah.
Blue and Orange go beautifully together.  

Hope you all have a happy weekend and that you all stay healthy.

I have linked this post to Daisy Quilts Colourful Fridays

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Life Is A Pea, or is that Pumpkin?

Excuse me while I have an "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents" purple patch of writing!

On the stove, I have pumpkin soup cooking.  Thai Spiked Pumpkin Soup actually, which has brought me to wanting to write about how I named this blog.

My original intention was to name it Life Is A Garden, but, you guessed it, there is already a blog by this name. Well almost...but with a few more words tacked on.  Despite this the world wide web address for that blog is actually those very words.  Nothing, as far as I can ascertain has been blogged there since November 2010 but neither have I posted anything on my second blog since I created it in early May!

Picture me then, sitting at my notebook computer, eating left over pumpkin and peas, wanting to name my not yet commenced blog, Life Is A Garden, and the computer says: "No".

Once I set my mind to something, it has to be done instantly, no dilly-dallying, no waiting until tomorrow while I have another brain-storming session on suitable blog names; it must be done now.  

As I was spooning another mouthful of day-old peas (or was it days old?) into my disappointed wide-open-sagging jaws, the idea came to me that I could call it Life Is A Pea. Which, as you can tell, I went ahead and did.

Next, I had to nominate a blog address/URL and; wait for it...lifeisapea is taken too.  So as you're now probably guessing, as I was about to shovel my next mouthful of food, this time days old (or was it day old) pumpkin, I though; "what the heck, lifeisapumpkin is as good as anything else!"

So there, now you know.  In my case, the pea came before the pumpkin and there's no way I'm going back and changing my blog to Life Is A Pumpkin to match my URL. That just sounds like too much hard work to me...and I have heard (or is that read) along the (Internet) grapevine that changing a blog name is not as simple as one might think.

But making pumpkin soup is pretty simple.  It is even more appealing to make when Kent pumpkin may be purchased at one local supermarket for fifty nine cents a kilo (whole) and seventy nine cents a kilo (whole) at another.  Who would be stupid enough to pay seventy nine cents a kilo when it's available for fifty nine I hear you say?  I was, because I usually only shop at one of the local supermarkets.  Yesterday, in the pouring rain, I had to walk, so went to the closest supermarket, and it was the one I don't normally shop at, and saw it cheaper. (I'd already purchased a whole pumpkin, more expensive, from the other supermarket.) I wasn't going to carry a whole pumpkin in the rain either. Oh well, as I discovered while trying to name my blog...you win some, and you lose some, such is life.

While I'm at it,here are some interesting facts about pumpkin.
Is listed as a 'super food'.
Is low in calories.
High in fibre.
Has the ability to ward off cancer and heart disease due to high levels of carotenoid.
Originated in Central America.
Possums in the Blue Mountains of Australia love its young fruit.
Its flowers are edible.
The largest known pumpkin weighed over five hundred kilograms.
Is a fruit, not a vegetable. (Have I already said that?)
Is over ninety percent water.
Pumpkin soup is my family's favourite soup.

I am most interested to read about your adventures into blog land and how you came about naming your blog.  Feel free to leave a comment with your story.  Thanks for dropping by.

20th October, 
Linked to:
As Sweet As Cinnamon where you can read other bloggers' stories on how they named their blog.

Total Lunar Eclipse - Eastern Australia

In our part of the world it's been raining steadily since Saturday, yet, the clouds parted long enough at five this morning, to allow the viewing of the total eclipse of the moon.
I was lucky to see this spectacular sight, because I managed to get to bed early enough last night to be able to get out of bed at half past four.
Hope you like the photographs!  They are not best quality as I did not use a tripod!  
Happy Full Moon Lunar Eclipse to you all!!!
(I'm going back to bed as I'm suffering from a heavy chest cold and probably shouldn't have been out in ten degree centigrade temperatures.)

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Better Late Than Never!

I thought it was about time I show cased my Mother's Day gift.  Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May here in Australia.

My family banded together to buy me this beautiful Devon Cottage dinner set by Johnson Brothers. (Times two!)

Isn't it beautiful?  I adore blue and white in the kitchen and for dining.  This is the sort of dinner set that can be added to and added to.  I'm secretly hoping that next Christmas I will receive a salad bowl or serving platter.  Fingers crossed (again).
I can also mix and match it with my previous dinner set in blue and white, also by Johnson Brothers and called Portland.
Oh, and I love my tea served in a cup with a saucer, black, no sweetener! 

I have linked this post to Artful Affirmations Tea Cup Tuesday.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Touring Coupe

Sketch Saturday DT provided inspiration for my Youngest Son's birthday card.  I used the following sketch 
and came up with this:

Once more the graphic was provided by The Graphics Fairy.  I cropped the image, changed the colour to sepia and then distressed it with a Tim Holtz distress ink pad.
My Son is a first year mature age apprentice motor mechanic so I'm hoping he likes the theme!

Let's Have A Party! # 2

Yesterday, family and friends celebrated my Twin Sisters' fiftieth birthday at the Burning Log Restaurant Dural.
We had a 'wig party'.
Even the teddy got to wear a wig!

I think my Youngest Brother had the coolest wig!
Our Second Sister made drink coasters using photographs from The Twins' last fifty years.  What a hoot we all had looking at the photographs spread out on the tables, and what a brilliant idea!
I'm pleased to report that the cake I made went down a treat.  Everyone licked their plate clean and I received lots of compliments. Also, I could tell my brother in law that it was gluten free (he is one that always makes digs at me 'cause I eat gluten free) and much to his surprise it was delicious.
After serving plates of breads and dips and antipastos,kitchen staff plated up perfectly cooked beef steak and chicken with mash and vegetables. The birthday cake was presented garnished with berry sauce, ice-cream and cream. 
A totally perfect way to spend a rainy and cold June afternoon.

Today, my sisters opened up their presents at home, so did not get to see them open up the quilts...but I got some lovely text messages on my mobile telephone.  I've even been promised kisses tomorrow...when I visit them again.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Twin Birthdays/Crazy Weekend.

All Ganached!
Birthday Party 2morrow!
Sometimes I think my purpose in this life is to try out as many things as possible so I can choose ONE talent to concentrate on in my next!
I volunteered to make my Twin Sisters' fiftieth birthday cake not knowing at the time that my Daughter and Grand Daughter would be moving house today.  So in amongst the mayhem, the packing, and the boxes I have made the cake!  We also have two interstate guests arriving tonight and one from Sydney!!!!!
Foil Covered Numbers.
Black Forest Brownie Cake

Chocolate Ganache added.
With Cherries on top.

Marzipan Roses.
Taa Daa!

The Twin Quilts are bound, labelled and wrapped, the outfits all picked out (we have to wear wigs!) and all that's left is for the removalists to show up!

Happy Queen's Birthday Long Weekend to you all in Eastern Australia!

Comments Welcome

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